According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is a complex condition that involves a brain disease manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. 

Addiction causes distorted thinking, behavior, and body functions. It changes the brain’s thought pattern to impair judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control. The struggle of addiction is painful for everyone involved – friends, family members, the loved one with addiction, etc. It can destroy relationships, diminish trust and friendships, and cause isolation is the worst way possible.  

Do you know someone who is suffering from an addiction? Are you noticing changes in your loved one and you might suspect they have an addiction, but you aren’t sure? There are a variety of signs to tell if someone is undergoing an addiction problem. 

We have outlined five signs your loved one may have an addiction below.


Signs your loved one may have an addiction include, but are not limited to:  

A shift in mood, attitude, and motivation

Mood swings are a common symptom for many people suffering from addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chemicals impact the brain. Substances impair the way people think and make decisions; therefore, it is harder for someone to reason or control their impulses. Your loved one may be developing problems at work or school, potentially losing one’s job or dropping out. As a result, they are performing poorly at school or work and are absent.

They may also be giving up once-favorite hobbies or interests. Mood swings vary from angry outbursts, being more volatile, unpredictable, feeling more melancholy and depressed, lethargic, paranoia, and inattentive. You may also notice they lash out when questioned about their substance use. They have developed unusual sleeping patterns, by either sleeping more or suffering from insomnia. Your loved one may also develop problems with cognition and memory.

Secretive behavior

Many people who struggle with an addiction strive to keep their substance use a secret. The reality of your loved one coming clean could potentially be hard for them to admit. They could be experiencing feelings of shame, contemplating the legal consequences, or worrying about the negative stigma associated with addiction. Secretive behaviors can include hiding where they are or who they are with, lying, unexplained phone calls or injuries, concealing phone or computer screens.

Change in appearance

Substance use can alter your loved one’s appearance. Not only do physical changes occur, but drug and alcohol use can negatively impact the immune system, which leads to the likelihood of contracting more illnesses. Changes in your loved one’s appearance could include sudden weight loss or gain, bloodshot and watery eyes with enlargeSigns Your Loved One May Have an Addictiond pupils, abnormal body odors, nose bleeds, neglected appearance, poor hygiene, trembling hands, and sores on the face, arms, and mouth.

Sudden, unexplained increase in spending money

Many addictions have a significant impact on finances. Without money, there will be no substance use. Your loved one’s cravings are begging to be satisfied, so their only way to make that happen is to accumulate money – morally correct or not. Your loved one is not explaining certain cash withdrawals, creating a new bank or online account, not paying bills, frequently asking to borrow money, taking or stealing money, and spending money rapidly.

Social withdrawal

Isolation is one of the most significant factors working against recovery. Your loved one could be afraid of failure, vulnerability, what people think about their addiction, and again, the negative stigma associated with addiction. This could cause them to begin removing or minimizing their social interactions with others. There is a significant loss of social life in your loved one’s circle by ignoring friends and family. If they are attending social events, it is primarily to use drugs and alcohol, and they are intoxicated before the event begins.

Addiction symptoms can be a sign of mental disorder and physical illness. Your loved one should get help by going to a licensed physician.


First and foremost, it is imperative to recognize and admit that there is an addiction problem at-hand. From there, the next step is to seek out help and guidance. There are many treatment options available, but you need to find the best alternative for your loved one. 

Treatment options can span from seeking a medical professional for a precise diagnosis, residential treatment to therapies, and counseling. Initially setting up an appointment with a medical professional to conduct a proper screening is a valuable option to confirm your suspicions of a drug or alcohol addiction. 

Please know that there is hope for your loved one to live a Better Life

At Better Life Recovery & Wellness, we cater to our patients with customized treatment plans. We offer Individual Therapy, Family Programming, Wellness Programs, Group Counseling, Life Skills Workshops, and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). 

Tips for you to provide help for your loved one:

  • Write in a journal. Record your loved one’s unusual behavior, like when they leave their job and skip classes, experience major mood swings, steal money, etc. As stated above, many people are suffering from addiction attempts to hide their behavior and do it well. Keeping a log of their suspicious activity will verify their behavior, actions, mood swings, etc. If you suspect there is a problem, and it continues to worsen, it is best to accumulate as much information as you can before talking with your loved one. 
  • Trust yourself. While your loved one may be in denial, you are aware a problem is taking place. Listen to your gut and seek out a medical professional for further assistance. 
  • Be aware of suicidal tendencies. Withdrawal symptoms from stopping drug or alcohol use can leave your loved one with dangerous side effects. If you find out your loved one is contemplating, planning, or attempting suicide, call 911 immediately. Your loved one should be medically monitored and seek medical attention as soon as possible. 
  • Remember – addiction is a disease of the brain. Many believe in the negative stigma associated with addiction. Keep in mind that it is not a choice, and your loved one does not have weak morals. Addiction is a condition the individual needs to learn how to manage by setting boundaries for themselves and standing by them. 
  • Provide encouragement. Encourage your loved one to seek help. Do some research to provide treatment options for them that are local to you. Set an example of healthy living and give up recreational drug and alcohol use. Be supportive but do not make excuses for their addiction. Be optimistic about their journey through recovery and provide support along the way.


Are you or someone you care about struggling with mental health or addiction issues? Better Life Recovery & Wellness is here to help. We determine the best treatment option for each of our clients on an individual basis. If your loved one needs help now, call us at 877.594.2752.